German spent nuclear fuel shipments roll again

Transports for reprocessing at Sellafield set to restart following first despatch to La Hague

The first consignment of spent fuel rods from a German nuclear power station destined for the UK is to leave Germany for reprocessing at Sellafield following the resumption of international nuclear transports across Germany after a three-year gap. Three containers have been loaded and are likely to leave the Neckarwestheim plant next week after a permit was issued by the national radiation authority (BfS) in January.

The shipment to the UK follows despatch of twelve spent fuel rods from the Philippsburg, Grafenrheinfeld and Biblis power stations last Wednesday for reprocessing at France's La Hague plant. Power firm RWE, which operates Biblis, said the castor containers had undergone rigorous checks for surface contamination as required under new rules brought in after the May 1998 ban on transports (ENDS Daily 25 May 1998). In spite of some attempts by protesters to hinder the consignment, the five containers arrived safely in France.

On 29 March the first shipment of waste from spent fuel reprocessing was returned to Germany from La Hague (ENDS Daily 30 March). Meanwhile, the BfS on Thursday issued a permit valid until the end of July for shipment of a further six spent fuel rods from Biblis to Sellafield.

Follow Up:
German radiation authority and press release; RWE and press release.

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